Monday, July 1, 2019

The To-Do Lists

Donald Trump

1. Back time from the State of the Union speech and the Iowa caucuses to produce budget and China trade deals that goose the economy.

2. Get a clean foreign policy victory…..somewhere.

3. Be as sophisticated as Nancy Pelosi is about the 2020 implications of no major bipartisan deal making (besides on the must-do budget/debt ceiling/spending caps).

4. Identify someone in the administration who can make a deal on the must-do budget/debt ceiling/spending caps with Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, and (most difficult of all) yourself.

Nancy Pelosi

1. Decide how you will grapple with the implications for the US economy and your donors if the Canada-Mexico trade deal goes down.

2. Get back in sync with Schumer on how to handle legislation to avoid splitting Democrats and making Trump’s re-election more likely.

3. Figure out what you can do to protect your vulnerable members from having to answer on issues such as decriminalizing entry into the USA and offering health insurance for those already here illegally.

4. Use your influence to increase the prospects that the Democrats nominate the most liberal electable person for president.

Kamala Harris

1. Ride the wave at top speed for as long as you can; go places you have not gone before; be surprising.

2. Find the low-hanging fruit of current Biden supporters you can poach, whose defections will be catnip for the media until further notice.

3. Focus almost as much on expectation-setting for Iowa to make sure you are part of the story headed to New Hampshire as you do on winning delegates in Iowa.

4. Be ready to explain the results of the next California statewide poll.

 Joe Biden

1. Recognize that too many around you aren’t being honest about how bad things are.

2. Accept that there’s a difference between acting like the nomination is in hand and acting like you know you have to fight every day, in every way, to win it.

3. Surrender to the reality that the world has changed since 1996; the establishment can’t save you the way it saved Bob Dole.

4. Ask yourself, again, why Barack Obama didn’t support your running for president four years ago.

Essential reading: Hunter Biden talks about addiction and a lot more to the New Yorker.

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Forget the Photo Op

This New York Times North Korea news analysis with the David Sanger byline suggests the real question is, will Trump and Kim accept a bargain that is less than grand?

My take: The US is apparently willing to consider dropping its insistence on full military surrender before any sanctions relief.  Now, Trump critics in both parties will seemingly get what they want – working level talks about just what concessions from North Korea will be required to produce a deal that will make the world safer, and NoKo richer.

That step won’t have an immediate impact on anything, but the parallel move with China – restarting trade talks at the staff level via some goal post moving and mutual concessions – is producing the expected boost to markets, which crave a big deal that eases tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

Only the cliché works in these two cases: the devil is indeed in the details.

The Move Left and Electability

Essential reading Washington Post news story suggests concern in some quarters that the super progressive policies of most Democratic presidential candidates will boost Trump’s chances of getting re-elected.

My take: The left, and most of their leading White House hopefuls, decry conservative columnists who argue that moving away from the center plays right into the president’s re-election hands.  History, Democrats’ sweeping House wins in 2018, and this reported article suggest otherwise.

Top sports story: Knicks didn’t want to offer Durant a max contract


Top business story: Global stocks and Yuan rally as trade war truce relieves markets

Wall Street Journal

Top entertainment story: Disney looks to break ‘Avatar’ B.O. record with ‘Endgame’ rerelease


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